For Immediate Release
Contact: Empire of Teeth 310.392.9396

Empire of Teeth and Track 16 Gallery present
“The Crook: A Revival”
April 21-May 12, 2006, 8:30 P.M.

“Expressionist theater that evokes the mysterious, the withering
and the tongue-in-cheek.” San Francisco Bay Guardian

Blissfully ambivalent, unsullied by a lesson plan.” – Los Angeles Times

Best of LA, Theater Companies – LA Weekly

Track 16 Gallery and Empire of Teeth are pleased to present the world premiere of “The Crook: A Revival,” a performance piece written, directed and choreographed by Michael Sakamoto and Rochelle Fabb. The cast includes Rochelle Fabb, Michael Morrissey,Michael Sakamoto, and Joe Seely. Music and sound score by Bob Bellerue. Performances will be held on Fridays and Saturdays April 21-22, 28-29 and May 5-6, 8:30 P.M. at Track 16 Gallery. Ticket prices are $15 general admission and $12 for students and seniors. Please call the gallery to make reservations. In conjuction with the performances, an installation created by THE COMPANY will be on view during regular gallery hours which are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 6 P.M. The installation will run through May 12, 2006.

The Crook: A Revival,” is loosely inspired by “The Black Crook” (1866), generally considered the first Broadway musical. A combination of a Faustian folk tale and burlesque-style song and dance numbers that ran over five hours and played across the continent for 30 years, the original show set the formula for American blockbuster stage shows – and eventually movies. Utilizing elements of theater, dance, performance art, and low-tech lighting and sound, “The Crook: A Revival” deconstructs scenes and characters from the original show in a contemporary context. The mass hysteria of Broadway theater and Revival preachers collides with the icy dehumanization of self-referential, postmodern culture, where everyone is a “crook.”

Empire of Teeth is an interdisciplinary ARTIST ensemble dedicated to presenting original works that redefine theater, dance, performance and media art and challenge audience expectations. Recent productions include “Last Waltz” and “The Rite of Spring, etc.” (both LA Weekly Performance Picks of the Week). The group is led by Co-Directors Rochelle Fabb and Michael Sakamoto, who have performed and exhibited in Germany, France, Mexico and throughout the USA. For more information, please visit www.track16.com or www.empireofteeth.org.

CROOK BIOS:

BOB BELLERUE / HALFNORMAL is a noise artist, theater designer, and founder of the sub-garde performance space the Il Corral in Koreawoodlake. His work utilizes electronics and custom programming for live performance, sound installation, and prepared ambient (public & private) field recordings. He has created original sound scores for dozens of performance art, dance, theater and film pieces, and performs regularly as a solo noise artist known as Redglare, and in ensembles such as Feed the Dragon and Improvisatyrs. His work has been presented in Indonesia, Spain, and across the United States, including the Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival, Centre de Cultura Contemporànea de Barcelona, Highways Performance Space, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Living Arts of Tulsa New Genre Festival, Dairy Center for the Arts, Crazyspace, Beyond Music Sound Festival, CEAIT Festival, Olympia Experimental Music Festival, 7Hz, the Il Corral, the Smell, KXLU, KFJC, KillRadio.com, UC San Diego, UC Los Angeles, Naropa University (BA 1995), and the California Institute of the Arts (MFA 2003). Visit http://www.halfnormal.com for more salience.

ROCHELLE FABB is a performance artist and Co-Artistic Director of Empire of Teeth. Known for creating bold, visceral, highly visual theater works and transitory, risk-taking performance installations with unique audience engagement, she has toured nationally and internationally since 1993.  Her physically and psychologically intense pieces display a raw vulnerability and primal/confrontational nature that she manipulates to explore issues of power, control, transcendence, gender, sexuality and seduction. She weaves elements of theater, movement, sound, video and text into character tableaux that attempt to disarm, seduce and dismantle an audience, often via fantasy-based or dream-like scenarios. Much of Fabb's work investigates the formal and synthetic aspects of publicly displayed emotion, mind/body exertion and revelation.  Her solo works have opened the inaugural Performance Rodeo Festival (France) and the Ex-Teresa Performance Art Festival (Mexico City) respectively. She was recently presented at the 13th Annual New Genres Festival in Tulsa, Off the Wall Festival in Miami, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Cleveland Performance Art Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, Performance Rodeo in Marnay, France and RAW Tempel in Berlin and performs at Highways Performance Space. She toured with the Rachel Rosenthal Company nationally and internationally from 1996-2000.

MICHAEL SAKAMOTO is Co-Director of Empire of Teeth  and an interdisciplinary artist whose works combine theater, dance, music, media and visual art. His ensemble and solo works have toured to San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Santa Fe, Portland, festivals in France and Mexico as well as venues throughout Southern California.  Fusing Eastern and Western influences, intense, minimalist imagery, historical depth and absurd humor, he creates global, multilingual experiences to evoke a benevolent multiculturalism. Sakamoto's works question popular culture, media and common notions of authenticity and knowledge and blend complex structures through abstract, iconic texts. His installation, graphics, media and photo works have been exhibited at Documenta, Siggraph and throughout the Los Angeles area, including at The Getty Center, Skirball Cultural Center, 18th Street Arts Center and numerous galleries.

JOE SEELY is an actor, mask maker and special effects designer who most recently worked with the Independent Shakespeare Company in its production of Richard the III. He is a founding member of Zoo District Theater and has created many original works with them as an actor, writer, and director. Last year received an L.A. Weekly award for his mask designs for “Heart Of A Dog.” He has also designed for Aspen Sante Fe Ballet, The Santa Clarita Ballet, Zoo District, ART Players.  Partial Film credits include; Nightmare on Elm Street V, Shag ,Tough Guys, and The Iron Triangle.

LAUREN MACE, a musician/composer/choreographer, attended Interlochen Arts Academy for dance and California Institute for the Arts where she trained in improvisation, performance art and physical theater.   She has performed as a dancer at REDCAT and performs regularly at Spaceland as a musician and singer. She has also collaborated and performed with multimedia artist Scott Snibbe and artists/dancers from Alonzo King's LINES ballet.

MICHAEL MORRISSEY has been performing for over 20 years in various venues across the U.S. and internationally.  He was a founding member of Al’s National Theatre in Downtown L.A., and has performed all over Los Angeles with the likes of The Actor’s Gang (“Porno”), The Fabulous Monsters (“Voluptuous Madness”) and Bottom’s Dream (“Erotic Curtsies”).  He was a member of the Rachel Rosenthal Company for five years.  His original piece, “Sacred Rabbit”, was presented at Espace DbD in Los Angeles.  With his partner, Franc Baliton, he has created several installations including “The Ties That Bind (Come Rain or Come Shine)” and “Who Dreams the Dream” at Crazy Space, “E” at the Electric Lodge, “Give & Take” at Highways Performance Space and “Fairy: A Performance Art Extravaganza” at Side Streets Projects.  Michael holds an MFA in Acting from CalArts where he performed in Lauren Hartman’s “Out of Me & Into You.” He most recently appeared in Empire of Teeth’s “Last Waltz “ at the New Genres Festival in Tulsa, OK and in “Doctor Chi” at the Santa Fe Film Festival.

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"The Impossible Dreams"
Photos by Mare Milin
April 21 - May 12, 2006

Track 16 and Empire of Teeth present "The Impossible Dreams," a new series of Polaroid portrait photos by acclaimed Croatian photographer Mare Milin, showing April 21- May 12, 2006 at Track 16 Gallery, 2525 Michigan Avenue, Building C-1, Santa Monica, CA. The exhibition runs in conjunction with the world premiere theatrical performance, "The Crook: A Revival," by Empire of Teeth, running Fridays-Saturdays, April 21-May 6 at 8:30pm.

Delving into a psyche of longing, muted passions, and crises of faith, Empire of Teeth's "The Crook: A Revival" deconstructs the first Broadway musical to expose the underbelly of the history of American spectacle and postmodern culture, where everyone is a "crook." Mare Milin's photos expose a world complementary to the dark universe created by the performance with Polaroid portraits of the characters from the show in various settings.

“What excites me about photography is breaking the rules, using it as my artistic weapon,” states Mare Milin. Milin was born in Zadar, Croatia and studied industrial design and photography at the University of Architecture in Zagreb. She has been a member of the Croatian Association of Applied Arts department ULUPUH since 2002. Her artistic portraits grace book and album covers and prestigious fashion magazines such as Croatian editions of Cosmopolitan and Elle. She has shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout Croatia and is a currently a Visiting Artist-in-Residence at 18th Street Arts Center.